Monday, August 31, 2009

You Are What You Eat: Corn & Antibiotics?

This blogger spent years (with no time off for good behavior) in the Texas Panhandle in the company of feedlot managers and a rancher. They all were casual about the use of "supplements" that were given to the cattle under their supervision. Too much anxiety. Have some comfort food: a burger sounds good. If this is (fair & balanced) dietary madness, so be it.

[x Time]
Getting Real About The High Price Of Cheap Food
By Bryan Walsh

Tag Cloud of the following article

created at

Somewhere in Iowa, a pig is being raised in a confined pen, packed in so tightly with other swine that their curly tails have been chopped off so they won't bite one another. To prevent him from getting sick in such close quarters, he is dosed with antibiotics. The waste produced by the pig and his thousands of pen mates on the factory farm where they live goes into manure lagoons that blanket neighboring communities with air pollution and a stomach-churning stench. He's fed on American corn that was grown with the help of government subsidies and millions of tons of chemical fertilizer. When the pig is slaughtered, at about 5 months of age, he'll become sausage or bacon that will sell cheap, feeding an American addiction to meat that has contributed to an obesity epidemic currently afflicting more than two-thirds of the population. And when the rains come, the excess fertilizer that coaxed so much corn from the ground will be washed into the Mississippi River and down into the Gulf of Mexico, where it will help kill fish for miles and miles around. That's the state of your bacon — circa 2009.

Horror stories about the food industry have long been with us — ever since 1906, when Upton Sinclair's landmark novel The Jungle told some ugly truths about how America produces its meat. In the century that followed, things got much better, and in some ways much worse. The U.S. agricultural industry can now produce unlimited quantities of meat and grains at remarkably cheap prices. But it does so at a high cost to the environment, animals and humans. Those hidden prices are the creeping erosion of our fertile farmland, cages for egg-laying chickens so packed that the birds can't even raise their wings and the scary rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria among farm animals. Add to the price tag the acceleration of global warming — our energy-intensive food system uses 19% of U.S. fossil fuels, more than any other sector of the economy.

And perhaps worst of all, our food is increasingly bad for us, even dangerous. A series of recalls involving contaminated foods this year — including an outbreak of salmonella from tainted peanuts that killed at least eight people and sickened 600 — has consumers rightly worried about the safety of their meals. A food system — from seed to 7‑Eleven — that generates cheap, filling food at the literal expense of healthier produce is also a principal cause of America's obesity epidemic. At a time when the nation is close to a civil war over health-care reform, obesity adds $147 billion a year to our doctor bills. "The way we farm now is destructive of the soil, the environment and us," says Doug Gurian-Sherman, a senior scientist with the food and environment program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Some Americans are heeding such warnings and working to transform the way the country eats — ranchers and farmers who are raising sustainable food in ways that don't bankrupt the earth. Documentaries like the scathing "Food Inc." and the work of investigative journalists like Eric Schlosser and Michael Pollan are reprising Sinclair's work, awakening a sleeping public to the uncomfortable realities of how we eat. Change is also coming from the very top. First Lady Michelle Obama's White House garden has so far yielded more than 225 lb. of organic produce — and tons of powerful symbolism. But hers is still a losing battle. Despite increasing public awareness, sustainable agriculture, while the fastest-growing sector of the food industry, remains a tiny enterprise: according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), less than 1% of American cropland is farmed organically. Sustainable food is also pricier than conventional food and harder to find. And while large companies like General Mills have opened organic divisions, purists worry that the very definition of sustainability will be co-opted as a result.

But we don't have the luxury of philosophizing about food. With the exhaustion of the soil, the impact of global warming and the inevitably rising price of oil — which will affect everything from fertilizer to supermarket electricity bills — our industrial style of food production will end sooner or later. As the developing world grows richer, hundreds of millions of people will want to shift to the same calorie-heavy, protein-rich diet that has made Americans so unhealthy — demand for meat and poultry worldwide is set to rise 25% by 2015 — but the earth can no longer deliver. Unless Americans radically rethink the way they grow and consume food, they face a future of eroded farmland, hollowed-out countryside, scarier germs, higher health costs — and bland taste. Sustainable food has an élitist reputation, but each of us depends on the soil, animals and plants — and as every farmer knows, if you don't take care of your land, it can't take care of you.

The Downside of Cheap

For all the grumbling you do about your weekly grocery bill, the fact is you've never had it so good, at least in terms of what you pay for every calorie you eat. According to the USDA, Americans spend less than 10% of their incomes on food, down from 18% in 1966. Those savings begin with the remarkable success of one crop: corn. Corn is king on the American farm, with production passing 12 billion bu. annually, up from 4 billion bu. as recently as 1970. When we eat a cheeseburger, a Chicken McNugget, or drink soda, we're eating the corn that grows on vast, monocrop fields in Midwestern states like Iowa.

But cheap food is not free food, and corn comes with hidden costs. The crop is heavily fertilized — both with chemicals like nitrogen and with subsidies from Washington. Over the past decade, the Federal Government has poured more than $50 billion into the corn industry, keeping prices for the crop — at least until corn ethanol skewed the market — artificially low. That's why McDonald's can sell you a Big Mac, fries and a Coke for around $5 — a bargain, given that the meal contains nearly 1,200 calories, more than half the daily recommended requirement for adults. "Taxpayer subsidies basically underwrite cheap grain, and that's what the factory-farming system for meat is entirely dependent on," says Gurian-Sherman.

So what's wrong with cheap food and cheap meat — especially in a world in which more than 1 billion people go hungry? A lot. For one thing, not all food is equally inexpensive; fruits and vegetables don't receive the same price supports as grains. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a dollar could buy 1,200 calories of potato chips or 875 calories of soda but just 250 calories of vegetables or 170 calories of fresh fruit. With the backing of the government, farmers are producing more calories — some 500 more per person per day since the 1970s — but too many are unhealthy calories. Given that, it's no surprise we're so fat; it simply costs too much to be thin.

Our expanding girth is just one consequence of mainstream farming. Another is chemicals. No one doubts the power of chemical fertilizer to pull more crop from a field. American farmers now produce an astounding 153 bu. of corn per acre, up from 118 as recently as 1990. But the quantity of that fertilizer is flat-out scary: more than 10 million tons for corn alone — and nearly 23 million for all crops. When runoff from the fields of the Midwest reaches the Gulf of Mexico, it contributes to what's known as a dead zone, a seasonal, approximately 6,000-sq.-mi. area that has almost no oxygen and therefore almost no sea life. Because of the dead zone, the $2.8 billion Gulf of Mexico fishing industry loses 212,000 metric tons of seafood a year, and around the world, there are nearly 400 similar dead zones. Even as we produce more high-fat, high-calorie foods, we destroy one of our leanest and healthiest sources of protein.

The food industry's degradation of animal life, of course, isn't limited to fish. Though we might still like to imagine our food being raised by Old MacDonald, chances are your burger or your sausage came from what are called concentrated-animal feeding operations (CAFOs), which are every bit as industrial as they sound. In CAFOs, large numbers of animals — 1,000 or more in the case of cattle and tens of thousands for chicken and pigs — are kept in close, concentrated conditions and fattened up for slaughter as fast as possible, contributing to efficiencies of scale and thus lower prices. But animals aren't widgets with legs. They're living creatures, and there are consequences to packing them in prison-like conditions. For instance: Where does all that manure go?

Pound for pound, a pig produces approximately four times the amount of waste a human does, and what factory farms do with that mess gets comparatively little oversight. Most hog waste is disposed of in open-air lagoons, which can overflow in heavy rain and contaminate nearby streams and rivers. "This creek that we used to wade in, that creek that our parents could drink out of, our kids can't even play in anymore," says Jayne Clampitt, a farmer in Independence, Iowa, who lives near a number of hog farms.

To stay alive and grow in such conditions, farm animals need pharmaceutical help, which can have further damaging consequences for humans. Overuse of antibiotics on farm animals leads, inevitably, to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and the same bugs that infect animals can infect us too. The UCS estimates that about 70% of antimicrobial drugs used in America are given not to people but to animals, which means we're breeding more of those deadly organisms every day. The Institute of Medicine estimated in 1998 that antibiotic resistance cost the public-health system $4 billion to $5 billion a year — a figure that's almost certainly higher now. "I don't think CAFOs would be able to function as they do now without the widespread use of antibiotics," says Robert Martin, who was the executive director of the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production.

The livestock industry argues that estimates of antibiotics in food production are significantly overblown. Resistance "is the result of human use and not related to veterinary use," according to Kristina Butts, the manager of legislative affairs for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. But with wonder drugs losing their effectiveness, it makes sense to preserve them for as long as we can, and that means limiting them to human use as much as possible. "These antibiotics are not given to sick animals," says Representative Louise Slaughter, who is sponsoring a bill to limit antibiotic use on farms. "It's a preventive measure because they are kept in pretty unspeakable conditions."

Such a measure would get at a symptom of the problem but not at the source. Just as the burning of fossil fuels that is causing global warming requires more than a tweaking of mileage standards, the manifold problems of our food system require a comprehensive solution. "There should be a recognition that what we are doing is unsustainable," says Martin. And yet, still we must eat. So what can we do?

Getting It Right

If a factory farm is hell for an animal, then Bill Niman's seaside ranch in Bolinas, Calif., an hour north of San Francisco, must be heaven. The property's cliffside view over the Pacific Ocean is worth millions, but the black Angus cattle that Niman and his wife Nicolette Hahn Niman raise keep their eyes on the ground, chewing contentedly on the pasture. Grass — and a trail of hay that Niman spreads from his truck periodically — is all the animals will eat during the nearly three years they'll spend on the ranch. That all-natural, noncorn diet — along with the intensive, individual care that the Nimans provide their animals — produces beef that many connoisseurs consider to be among the best in the world. But for Niman, there is more at stake than just a good steak. He believes that his way of raising farm animals — in the open air, with no chemicals or drugs and with maximum care — is the only truly sustainable method and could be a model for a better food system. "What we need in this country is a completely different way of raising animals for food," says Hahn Niman, a former attorney for the environmental group Earthjustice. "This needs to be done in the right way."

The Nimans like to call what they do "beyond organic," and there are some signs that consumers are beginning to catch up. This November, California voters approved a ballot proposition that guarantees farm animals enough space to lie down, stand up and turn around. Worldwide, organic food — a sometimes slippery term but on the whole a practice more sustainable than conventional food — is worth more than $46 billion. That's still a small slice of the overall food pie, but it's growing, even in a global recession. "There is more pent-up demand for organic than there is production," says Bill Wolf, a co-founder of the organic-food consultancy Wolf DiMatteo and Associates.

So what will it take for sustainable food production to spread? It's clear that scaling up must begin with a sort of scaling down — a distributed system of many local or regional food producers as opposed to just a few massive ones. Since 1935, consolidation and industrialization have seen the number of U.S. farms decline from 6.8 million to fewer than 2 million — with the average farmer now feeding 129 Americans, compared with 19 people in 1940.

It's that very efficiency that's led to the problems and is in turn spurring a backlash, reflected not just in the growth of farmers' markets or the growing involvement of big corporations in organics but also in the local-food movement, in which restaurants and large catering services buy from suppliers in their areas, thereby improving freshness, supporting small-scale agriculture and reducing the so-called food miles between field and plate. That in turn slashes transportation costs and reduces the industry's carbon footprint.

A transition to more sustainable, smaller-scale production methods could even be possible without a loss in overall yield, as one survey from the University of Michigan suggested, but it would require far more farmworkers than we have today. With unemployment approaching double digits — and things especially grim in impoverished rural areas that have seen populations collapse over the past several decades — that's hardly a bad thing. Work in a CAFO is monotonous and soul-killing, while too many ordinary farmers struggle to make ends meet even as the rest of us pay less for food. Farmers aren't the enemy — and they deserve real help. We've transformed the essential human profession — growing food — into an industry like any other. "We're hurting for job creation, and industrial food has pushed people off the farm," says Hahn Niman. "We need to make farming real employment, because if you do it right, it's enjoyable work."

One model for how the new paradigm could work is Niman Ranch, a larger operation that Bill Niman founded in the 1990s, before he left in 2007. (By his own admission, he's a better farmer than he is a businessman.) The company has knitted together hundreds of small-scale farmers into a network that sells all-natural pork, beef and lamb to retailers and restaurants. In doing so, it leverages economies of scale while letting the farmers take proper care of their land and animals. "We like to think of ourselves as a force for a local-farming community, not as a large corporation," says Jeff Swain, Niman Ranch's CEO.

Other examples include the Mexican-fast-food chain Chipotle, which now sources its pork from Niman Ranch and gets its other meats and much of its beans from natural and organic sources. It's part of a commitment that Chipotle founder Steve Ells made years ago, not just because sustainable ingredients were better for the planet but because they tasted better too — a philosophy he calls Food with Integrity. It's not cheap for Chipotle — food makes up more than 32% of its costs, the highest in the fast-food industry. But to Ells, the taste more than compensates, and Chipotle's higher prices haven't stopped the company's rapid growth, from 16 stores in 1998 to over 900 today. "We put a lot of energy into finding farmers who are committed to raising better food," says Ells.

Bon Appétit Management Company, a caterer based in Palo Alto, Calif., takes that commitment even further. The company sources as much of its produce as possible from within 150 miles of its kitchens and gets its meat from farmers who eschew antibiotics. Bon Appétit also tries to influence its customers' habits by nudging them toward greener choices. That includes campaigns to reduce food waste, in part by encouraging servers at its kitchens to offer smaller, more manageable portions. (The USDA estimates that Americans throw out 14% of the food we buy, which means that much of our record-breaking harvests ends up in the garbage.) And Bon Appétit supports a low-carbon diet, one that uses less meat and dairy, since both have a greater carbon footprint than fruit, vegetables and grain. The success of the overall operation demonstrates that sustainable food can work at an institutional scale bigger than an élite restaurant, a small market or a gourmet's kitchen — provided customers support it. "Ultimately it's going to be consumer demand that will cause change, not Washington," says Fedele Bauccio, Bon Appétit's co-founder.

How willing are consumers to rethink the way they shop for — and eat — food? For most people, price will remain the biggest obstacle. Organic food continues to cost on average several times more than its conventional counterparts, and no one goes to farmers' markets for bargains. But not all costs can be measured by a price tag. Once you factor in crop subsidies, ecological damage and what we pay in health-care bills after our fatty, sugary diet makes us sick, conventionally produced food looks a lot pricier.

What we really need to do is something Americans have never done well, and that's to quit thinking big. We already eat four times as much meat and dairy as the rest of the world, and there's not a nutritionist on the planet who would argue that 24‑oz. steaks and mounds of buttery mashed potatoes are what any person needs to stay alive. "The idea is that healthy and good-tasting food should be available to everyone," says Hahn Niman. "The food system should be geared toward that."

Whether that happens will ultimately come down to all of us, since we have the chance to choose better food three times a day (or more often, if we're particularly hungry). It's true that most of us would prefer not to think too much about where our food comes from or what it's doing to the planet — after all, as Chipotle's Ells points out, eating is not exactly a "heady intellectual event." But if there's one difference between industrial agriculture and the emerging alternative, it's that very thing: consciousness. Niman takes care with each of his cattle, just as an organic farmer takes care of his produce and smart shoppers take care with what they put in their shopping cart and on the family dinner table. The industrial food system fills us up but leaves us empty — it's based on selective forgetting. But what we eat — how it's raised and how it gets to us — has consequences that can't be ignored any longer.

The Tale of Two Cattle

How did your hamburger get to your plate — and what did it eat along the way? The journey of beef illustrates the great American food chain

ORGANIC (1% of all cattle)
This is the way all beef used to be raised — and how some people still imagine it is. Bill Niman tends a small herd with one of the lightest hands in the business and produces what Bay Area chefs swear is unparalleled beef

Diet: Grass
Niman's cows eat only grass, along with a smattering of hay. That's the normal diet for cattle. Their rumen, a digestive organ, can break down grasses we'd find inedible

Supplements: None
Niman gives no supplements whatsoever to his cattle — no drugs, no hormones, no additives. That's not ironclad for organic beef — some companies might use antimicrobials — but generally the animals are supplement-free

Environmental Impact: Living with the Land
To prevent his ranch from becoming overgrazed, Niman shifts his cattle around the land, ensuring that the grass has time to recover between feedings. The result is a surprisingly low-impact hamburger, since grass doesn't need chemical fertilizer to grow and its presence helps prevent soil erosion. There's no need to clean up manure — with Niman's low cattle density, the waste just fertilizes the land

Human Impact: The Omega Effect
Beef has a bad rep among nutritionists, but that might be partly unfair for grass-fed steaks. According to research from the University of California, grass-fed beef is higher in beta-carotene, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids than conventional beef

CONVENTIONAL (99% of all cattle)
The vast majority of all American cattle start off on open ranges, but that's where the similarity to their organic cousins ends. They're shifted after a few months to the tight quarters of an industrial feedlot, to be fattened up as fast as possible

Diet: Grass and corn
Conventional cattle feed off grass pasture for the first several months, but at the feedlot, they're switched to a heavily corn-based diet, which makes them gain weight faster but also makes them get sick more easily

Supplements: Chemicals
In part to help them survive the crowded conditions of feedlots, where infections can spread fast, conventional cattle are given antibiotics in their feed, and sometimes growth hormones, bloods and fats

Environmental Impact: Waste
A 1,000-head feedlot produces up to 280 tons of manure a week, and the smell can be powerful. All that feed corn requires millions of tons of fertilizer and, ultimately, a lot of petroleum

Human Impact: Fat Attack
Feeding corn to cattle for the last several months of their lives doesn't just get them fatter faster; it also changes the quality of the beef. Corn helps produce that marbled taste many of us love, but it can result in beef that is higher in fat — helping to fuel the obesity epidemic Ω

[Bryan Walsh is Time Magazine's environmental columnist. Additional reporting was provided by Rebecca Kaplan. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.]

Copyright © 2009 Time, Inc.

Get the Google Reader at no cost from Google. Click on this link to go on a tour of the Google Reader. If you read a lot of blogs, load Reader with your regular sites, then check them all on one page. The Reader's share function lets you publicize your favorite posts.

Copyright © 2009 Sapper's (Fair & Balanced) Rants & Raves

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Reality Time With Bill Moyers

Billy Don (Bill) Moyers makes as much sense at age 75 as anyone in the media today. Moyers served as Deputy Director of the Peace Corps during the Kennedy administration and White House Press Secretary during the Johnson administration. Moyers moved into the MSM (mainstream media) in 1967 as publisher of Newsday. In 1971, Moyers joined PBS as host of the news show, "Bill Moyers Journal," that ran until 1976, when Moyers moved to CBS News as a correspondent and worked at the Big Eye until 1986. At that time, Moyers returned to PBS with a 6-part documentary series, "Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth." Moyers hosted various PBS programs until 2007 with the restart of "Bill Moyers Journal" which continues to this day on PBS.

Bill Maher devoted half (30 minutes) of his (08/28/09) show to an interview with Bill Moyers and Maher asked Moyers three questions about: the current health care fight, Afghanistan, the decline of Pax Americana. In 30 minutes, Bill Moyers made more sense than hours of the MSM bloviation. If this is (fair & balanced) heavy lifting, so be it.

[x Salon]
Bill Moyers On Health Care, Afghanistan, And Our Decline
By Glenn Greenwald

Tag Cloud of the following article

created at

Bill Moyers was on Bill Maher's show ["Real Time With Bill Maher" — HBO] last night [08/28/09] and spoke about the core failures of Democratic Party in the context of both the health care debate and the ongoing escalation in Afghanistan. The whole discussion is really worth watching (at least until HBO intervenes, the entire 30-minute interview can be seen in 3 parts: here, here and here; HBO is re-running the show throughout the weekend on this schedule), but I want to excerpt several key parts, including his very complimentary featuring of this post I wrote on Thursday [08/27/09] regarding Democrats:

On what's really happening in the health care fight:

MOYERS: I don’t think the problem is the Republicans . . . .The problem is the Democratic Party. This is a party that has told its progressives — who are the most outspoken champions of health care reform — to sit down and shut up. That’s what Rahm Emanuel, the Chief of Staff at the White House, in effect told progressives who stood up as a unit in Congress and said: "no public insurance option, no health care reform."

And I think the reason for that is — in the time since I was there, 40 years ago, the Democratic Part has become like the Republican Party, deeply influenced by corporate money. I think Rahm Emanuel, who is a clever politician, understands that the money for Obama’s re-election will come from the health care industry, from the drug industry, from Wall Street. And so he’s a corporate Democrat who is determined that there won’t be something in this legislation that will turn off these interests. . . .

Money in politics — you’ve had in the last 30 years, money has flooded politics.... [T]he Supreme Court saying "money is free speech." It goes back to the efforts in the 19th Century to give corporations the right of personhood — so if you as a citizen have the right to donate to campaigns, then so do corporations. Money has flowed in such a flood into both parties that the Democratic Party gets a lot of its support from the very interests that — when the Republicans are in power — financially support the Republicans.

You really have essentially — except for the progressives on the left of the Democratic Party — you really have two corporate parties who in their own way and their own time are serving the interests of basically a narrow set of economic interests in the country — who, as Glenn Greenwald, who is a great analyst and journalist, wrote just this week: these narrow interests seem to win, determine the outcomes, no matter how many Democrats are elected, no matter who has their hands on the levers of powers, these narrow interests determine the outcomes in Washington, even when they have to run roughshod over the interests of ordinary Americans. I’m sad to say that has happened to the Democratic Party.

I’d rather see Barack Obama go down fighting for vigorous strong principled public insurance, than to lose with a [corporate-dominated] bill.... [T]he insurers are winning. Everyone already knows the White House has made a deal with the drug industry — promising not to import cheaper drugs from Canada and Europe — promising not to use the government to negotiate for better prices — that deal has been cut....

There’s this fear that Barack Obama will become the Grover Cleveland of this era — Grover Cleveland was a good man, but he became a conservative Democratic President because he didn’t fight the powerful interests — people say Obama should be FDR — I’d much rather see him be Theodore Roosevelt — Teddy Roosevelt loved to fight — … I think if Obama fought instead of really finessed it so much.... I think it would change the atmosphere.

On Afghanistan:

MAHER: What do you think of Obama's policy in Afghanistan — you were around for the Vietnam debate and the escalation — it may have been why you left the White House?

MOYERS: I’d think it would be a tragedy beyond description for this young, bright, exciting President to be drawn into an endless war in the same way that the last young, bright, exciting President was drawn into — intervened in Vietnam. I was there when Kennedy chose to send advisers to Vietnam — and was there when LBJ escalated — they both acted from noble intentions — actually they did — they wanted to stop Communism in Asia and spread democracy — but the advisers soon became bombers and the bombers became grounds troops and pretty soon, it became a regional crusade — and 12 years later, billions of dollars, and millions of lives later, including 60,000 American troops — we lost — because the U.S. is not good at that sort of thing.

Here Obama has 68,000 troops over there and the Generals are asking for another 20,000 — maybe 30,000 more troops — saying it’s not enough. The military and the hawks will always say "not enough." Obama has to say "enough" — or he’s going to be drawn into it.

Now they’ve shifted the mission of troops: to protect the villages of Afghanistan. 100,000 Americans can’t protect the villages of Afghanistan — and now they say we’re going to be there to build a nation — we’re not good at building other nations — we’re hardly good at building our nation. If you're an Afghani and look up and see Arnold Schwarzenegger and the California legislature coming to build your nation, you’re going to run — you’re going to put up a No Trespassing sign. We need to come home.

On the U.S. as a declining empire

MAHER: There are so many parallels — I hate to say it — between great empires that were on their decline and what’s going on with this country right now — a sort of internal malaise, where we are debt-wise, how much money we owe the world..., do you still think we’re a great nation?

MOYERS: We are a very crippled giant suffering from self-inflicted wounds that if we do not treat and heal, will in fact bring us to our knees and ultimately to our doom....

We can’t say, though, it’s over — we can’t. What makes us great — we’re not smarter than other people, we’re not more intelligent, we’re not wiser — we have that First Amendment — that self-correcting faculty — that enables people like this to climb up on the ship and say: "that’s an iceberg out there...." We wait a long time until almost the ship has sunk.... We’re close to losing the moral, financial and economic muscle and wisdom that makes a huge nation a great nation, but it’s never too late.

There's some wisdom and insight that can come only from witnessing events first-hand for many decades. Ω

[Glenn Greenwald is an attorney, best-selling author of How Would A Patriot Act?, political and legal blogger, and a columnist at Salon Magazine. Greenwald is a graduate of George Washington University and received a J.D. from New York University Law School.]

Copyright © 2009 Salon Media Group, Inc.

Get the Google Reader at no cost from Google. Click on this link to go on a tour of the Google Reader. If you read a lot of blogs, load Reader with your regular sites, then check them all on one page. The Reader's share function lets you publicize your favorite posts.

Copyright © 2009 Sapper's (Fair & Balanced) Rants & Raves

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Update, Don't Upchuck!

Get ready for TMI (too much information). This blogger runs iGoogle as the home page in four (4) browsers (in this order of preference: Chrome 2, Firefox 3, Safari 4, and IE 8. Why 4 browsers? This blogger looks at the finished blog posts in all 4 browsers to make certain that nothing is amiss with the formatting. Wikipedia tells us that iGoogle

(formerly Google Personalized Homepage and Google IG), a service of Google, is a customizable AJAX-based startpage or personal web portal much like Netvibes, Pageflakes, My Yahoo!, MySurfPad and Windows Live Personalized Experience. It was originally launched in May 2005. Its features include the capability to add web feeds and Google Gadgets (similar to those available on Google Desktop). It was renamed and expanded on April 30, 2007, and is currently available in many localized versions of Google, in 42 languages, and in over 70 country domain names, as of October 17, 2007.

Yesterday (08/28/09), the Google Gadget for Gmail stopped working from the iGoogle page on the Firefox browser; the Gadget worked in the other three browsers. A click on the Gadget controls provided access to the Comments bulletin board about the Gadget. Wow, several other users of the Gadget experienced the same anomaly in the Firefox browser. This blogger added his own moans and groans about the Gadget's problems in Firefox. Flash forward to this AM and when the blogger fired up the Firefox browser to post this blog entry, a window popped up on the Firefox screen: a new Google Gadget Plugin had been added to Firefox! A click on the Gmail Gadget on the home page produced the blogger's In Box! Wow! A helpful update! However, The Krait offers another view of software updates in today's NY Fishwrap. If this is (fair & balanced) technophilia, so be it.

PS: The Krait (Gail Collins) is the distaff Op-Ed teammate of The Copy-Cobra (Maureen Dowd).

[x NY Fishwrap]
The Updating Game
By Gail Collins

Tag Cloud of the following article

created at

There was a time when people in search of a full and meaningful life were advised to start off each morning by telling themselves: “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.”

Now, we get up and hear: “Updates are ready for your computer.”

It’s depressing to realize that my computer is more bent on self-improvement than I am. At home, my laptop is so ready to update that it can barely be constrained. The other day, I found three different pleas floating around on the screen.

The “Dell Support Center Automatic Upgrade” was the most tempting since it sounded as if the computer wanted to give me a really good seat on a plane.

“Effective now,” the announcement continued, “these valuable messages are part of the new Dell Support Center. Dell needs to upgrade Dell Support without impeding system performance so that messages continue to be received.”

In other words, I need an upgrade so that I will better be able to receive more upgrade requests in the future. This is extremely important to my laptop, which is only offering me the response options of: More Details, Start Upgrade or Remind Me Later.

There was a time when I would have responded, but nothing good ever seemed to come of that. The updated computers were never any better at doing the things I wanted to do than the old ones. And there’s always the possibility that I could trigger an inadvertent disaster.

I have been permanently traumatized by an experience with my BlackBerry, which started sending me signals that it was unhappy about something. I kept clicking around, looking for a positive response, trying to show it that I was a partner, eager to keep up my end of the relationship. The upshot was that the BlackBerry began refusing to do anything whatsoever except call up the telephone number of former Senator Trent Lott.

My most benevolent theory about the updating requests is that my computers are just bored. The one I take on the road is always whining about the unused icons on my desktop, like a hyper-tidy roommate who follows you around saying, “Gee, I notice you haven’t made your bed. Do you want any help with that? I know it must be really hard to remember every day, but if you want me to remind you or anything....”

My home computer has begun to flash a Windows Genuine Advantage Notification, urging me to press a button so it can reduce software piracy and “help confirm that the copy of Windows installed on this PC is genuine and properly licensed.” This does not sound as if it’s all about me. In fact, the computer has no interest whatsoever in me, my BlackBerry crisis or my inability to make the iPod stop playing “Kokomo” by the Beach Boys all the time. It just wants a world where all its icons are tidily arranged, software is licensed, upgrade messages flow untrammeled and it feels better every day, in every way.

My darkest suspicion is that my computers are preparing to join their comrades in overthrowing humanity so machines can rule the earth. I have seen quite a few movies on this theme, and really, the signs are everywhere. The other day, Jim Dwyer reported in The Times about a man in Brooklyn whose oven broiler turns on every time the cellphone rings. Experts think this is caused by electromagnetic interference. However, I believe the oven is ticked off because its owners, in typical New York fashion, use it for storage rather than for actual cooking. And it is in cahoots with the cellphone, which probably is resentful because it is not allowed to spend its time doing the things cellphones really enjoy, like talking to Trent Lott.

The way you respond when your computer asks for an upgrade is a good test of how you relate to technology in general. My nephew Hugh and his friends seem as excited as the computers over the whole concept. “Actually, everyone would be fine with an annual update,” he said, “but that would make people feel like they were out of the loop. Unclean.”

I had a good deal of trouble getting hold of Hugh since he doesn’t respond to old-fashioned e-mail. “By the way,” he said delicately when we were finished talking, “if you tell people other than me that you’re writing a column on technology but don’t know how to text, they might sense, um, a — disconnect.”

Edward Tenner, a visiting scholar at the Rutgers University School of Communication and Information and author of Why Things Bite Back, told me he actually used to be in the if-it’s-not-broke-don’t-update camp, until his computer suffered a total meltdown. The tech who fixed it told him that he should have been installing the virus-detecting updates all along. “Don’t try to second-guess Microsoft," he warned, in tones the professor has now taken to heart.

Truly, words to live by. Every day in every way. Ω

[Gail Collins joined the New York Times in 1995 as a member of the editorial board and later as an op-ed columnist. In 2001 she became the first woman ever appointed editor of the Times editorial page. At the beginning of 2007, she stepped down and began a leave in order to finish a sequel to her book, America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and Heroines. Collins returned to The Times as a columnist in July 2007. Besides America's Women, which was published in 2003, Ms. Collins is the author of Scorpion Tongues: Gossip, Celebrity and American Politics, and The Millennium Book, which she co-authored with her husband, Dan Collins. Her new book is about American women since 1960. Collins has a degree in journalism from Marquette University and an M.A. in government from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.]

Copyright © 2009 The New York Times Company

Get the Google Reader at no cost from Google. Click on this link to go on a tour of the Google Reader. If you read a lot of blogs, load Reader with your regular sites, then check them all on one page. The Reader's share function lets you publicize your favorite posts.

Copyright © 2009 Sapper's (Fair & Balanced) Rants & Raves

Friday, August 28, 2009

Revisionism 101: Obama Is Not LBJ (Nor FDR Or HST Or JFK)

The media rings with cries for the POTUS (44) to channel FDR, HST, JFK, or — more recently — LBJ. Obama is what he is and the Dumbos and their rightwing ilk froth at the mouth because, in the words of Daniel Bell, they are dispossessed. In today's history lesson, Ed Kilgore confronts the myths of the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid. If this is (fair & balanced) revisory reflection, so be it.

[x TNR]
The Ghost Of LBJ
By Ed Kilgore

Tag Cloud of the following article

created at

There are two specters haunting progressives as we near the endgame of this year’s health care reform debate. The first, of course, is the sad precedent of the Clinton effort. But the second is a success story, cited often in invidious comparison to Obama: the ghost of Lyndon Baines Johnson’s epochal legislative blitz of 1964-65, which produced the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, Medicare, and Medicaid.

It’s something you hear about all the time in casual conversation among Democratic political junkies, particularly those with chronic doubts about the Obama’s legislative strategy and his personal style: Why can’t he be more like LBJ, who exploited big Democratic majorities in Congress to get big things done, and fast? And LBJ is cited not just as a successful activist president, but also as, to cite the title of the last-published volume of Robert Caro’s vast biography of the man, “The Master of the Senate.” Here’s how Tom Schaller put it yesterday in a pitch-perfect essay for Salon reflecting present progressive second-guessing of Obama’s, and congressional Democrats’, approach to health reform, entitled “What Went Wrong?”:

Obama is no LBJ.... Given the reflexive Republican biting of Obama's extended hand, perhaps the president should have dispensed from the start with any serious effort to find accommodation with the GOP. ...Instead of wasting energy on trying to persuade Republicans, it could have worked over dissenting Democrats in the Senate, and had a better shot at jamming the public option through.

Schaller thus invokes the myth that LBJ, a famously truculent and manipulative SOB, when given a similar gift of initial public support and a big Democratic congressional majorities (particularly after the 1964 landslide), didn’t screw around with “bipartisanship” or compromises but instead bent Congress, including the inherently change-averse Senate, to his progressive will. Woe onto us that Barack Obama, the professorial amateur with a fatal addiction to bipartisanship and compromise, cannot be more like LBJ!

The problem with this argument is that real LBJ wasn’t really that partisan legislative steamroller who announced what he wanted and got it. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 accomplished, lest we forget, basic citizenship guarantees that took 88 years to enact after the end of Reconstruction. It took a martyred president and a vast array of contemporary and heavily publicized outrages against African-Americans to give these bills the political momentum they needed. And far from being the fruit of aggressive partisanship, the big civil rights laws represented a bipartisan and trans-ideological consensus outside the South to impose national values on that rebellious region.

Yes, LBJ’s leadership (in tandem with congressional leaders like Hubert Humphrey) was essential to the enactment of the civil rights laws over southern Senate filibusters. But according to Caro, LBJ’s true “mastery of the Senate” was best displayed on behalf of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, which accomplished virtually nothing for African-Americans other than the establishment of a precedent for future action.

As for Medicare and Medicaid, the idea that LBJ came up with a bold set of proposals and ram-rodded them through Congress is wrong by all sorts of measurements. It’s important to understand that however important these health care entitlements became, they were at the time clearly major compromises from the progressive commitment, first articulated by Harry Truman, to enact national health insurance. Medicare, obviously, was offered only to retirees, not all Americans--a distinction that is cherished as a matter of principle by those Medicare beneficiaries who today oppose universal health coverage. Medicaid was even more of a compromise, eschewing national health coverage for a crazy quilt system in which the states would largely determine eligibility and benefit levels, with coverage generally limited to low-income families with children.

Medicare and Medicaid also did not spring fully formed from LBJ’s head or his White House, and weren't enacted via royal disdain for Congress and the petty fiefdoms of the committee system. Federal health insurance for retirees was narrowly defeated in the Senate in 1960 and in 1962. It finally passed the Senate in 1964, only to succumb in the House when Democratic Ways & Means Chairman Wilbur Mills refused to support it. It was finally enacted in 1965, but only after Mills shaped the legislation, and also added Medicaid, intended as a sop to Republicans and the AMA, which had long proposed health care subsidies for low-income families as an alternative to national health insurance.

So the myth of LBJ as the driven president demanding and securing progressive legislation against the grain of party, congressional prerogatives, and even public opinion, is an exaggeration, to put it mildly. LBJ showed great courage and resolution on civil rights, but he was riding almost a century of momentum, and he certainly didn’t reject bipartisanship in his effort to get the job done. The landmark health care initiatives of Medicare and Medicaid were “betrayals” of the long-established progressive goal of national health insurance—certainly far more so than, say, the substitution of a health care cooperatives for a “public option” in a system of universal health coverage.

Team Obama faces a crucible this autumn in trying to get health reform enacted, and the president’s legacy will be greatly affected by success or failure. But while Lyndon Johnson may provide inspiration in the small ball of legislative sausage-making or even the big lift of public persuasion, Barack Obama doesn’t really need to look over his shoulder at the big Texan’s shade. Ω

[Ed Kilgore is a Senior Fellow at theProgressive Policy Institute, as well as managing editor of The Democratic Strategist, an online forum. He was previously vice president for policy at the Democratic Leadership Council; communications director for former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA); and a federal-state liaison for three governors of his home state of Georgia.]

Copyright © 2009 The New Republic

Get the Google Reader at no cost from Google. Click on this link to go on a tour of the Google Reader. If you read a lot of blogs, load Reader with your regular sites, then check them all on one page. The Reader's share function lets you publicize your favorite posts.

Copyright © 2009 Sapper's (Fair & Balanced) Rants & Raves

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Full Disclosure? This Blogger Has "Gut Hatred" For Torturers, War Criminals, & Big Liars

The MSM (Main Stream Media) flacks are ducking and dodging for their complicity in the torture, war crimes, and Big Lies perpetrated by The Dubster, The Dickster, The Rumster, and all of the other vermin who made up the Bush (43) Administration. There are Hitlerian echos throughout the entire episode; the Bush-created "Department of Homeland Security" sounds as if it was manufactured by the Nazi Reichsminister of Propaganda, Josef Goebbels. Was ist das Homeland? This blog featured a more recent version of the MSM resistance to the prosecution of Bush-era war criminals. Upchuck Todd of NBC News was more concerned about being made to look bad on TV rather than the TRUTH. This blogger hates all of the Bushies and he's sorry that there aren't more of 'em. If this is (fair & balanced) rage, so be it.

[x Wikipedia]
The Big Lie Technique

The source of Big Lie technique, from Chapter 10 of Mein Kampf:

But it remained for the Jews, with their unqualified capacity for falsehood, and their fighting comrades, the Marxists, to impute responsibility for the downfall precisely to the man who alone had shown a superhuman will and energy in his effort to prevent the catastrophe which he had foreseen and to save the nation from that hour of complete overthrow and shame. By placing responsibility for the loss of the world war on the shoulders of Ludendorff they took away the weapon of moral right from the only adversary dangerous enough to be likely to succeed in bringing the betrayers of the Fatherland to Justice.

All this was inspired by the principle—which is quite true in itself—that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.

—Adolf Hitler , Mein Kampf, vol. I, ch. X.

[ x Salon]
The Media Can't Handle The Truth
By Gene Lyons

[x YouTube/ChxtaBee Channel]
"A Few Good Men" ("You Can't Handle The Truth" Scene) — 1992

Tag Cloud of the following article

created at

So yet another Bush administration Cabinet-level official has petitioned to get his conscience and reputation back. This time, it's Tom Ridge, former secretary of Homeland Security. The one-time Pennsylvania governor admits in a new book that he felt political pressure from the White House to issue bogus terror alerts before the 2004 presidential election.

Big surprise, right? By 2004, anybody who didn't grasp that crying wolf was the Bush/Cheney administration's basic game plan was probably also astonished last January when the "Texas cowboy" who's never been seen on a horse chose a Dallas mansion over his beloved ranch. Golly, who's doing all that brush-cutting?

Indeed, the most fascinating aspect of the Ridge revelations has been a flame war that's broken out between establishment Washington pundits and less-reverent bloggers. The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder started it by observing in smug inside-the-Beltway fashion that he and like-minded colleagues were actually right to be wrong about fake terror warnings.

People who smelled a rat, see, "based their assumption on gut hatred for President Bush, and not on any evaluation of the raw intelligence." Whereas, sober-sided thinkers like him credited the Bush administration's good intentions.

Confronted with ample contemporaneous evidence of Bush administration flimflams by Salon's Glenn Greenwald and the scholarly Marcy Wheeler of, Ambinder apologized for the "gut hatred" part. But he alibied: "Information asymmetry is always going to exist, and, living as we do in a democratic system, most journalists are going to give the government the benefit of some doubt, even having learned lessons about giving the government that benefit."

Yeah, sure. Purely with regard to terrorism and national security, by 2004, Bush/Cheney had already gotten caught deceiving the public about having "no warning" before the 9/11 attacks, not to mention about Saddam Hussein's nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. If skepticism was still inappropriate, would it ever be warranted?

Yet people who found the timing of terror alerts suspect, such as then-Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean, were dismissed as crackpots.

It was much the same after former Secretary of State Colin Powell confessed misgivings about his 2003 U.N. speech that stampeded the United States into an ill-advised war in Iraq. How could any serious American journalist possibly have seen that coming? Or, as your humble, obedient servant here wrote at the time, "War fever, catch it."

This column summarized "mainstream" opinion on Feb. 12, 2003: "The allegedly 'liberal' Washington Post responded editorially with a one-word headline, 'Irrefutable.' Columnist Mary McGrory announced that despite being almost a pacifist ... 'I'm Persuaded,' mostly by what she described as Powell's unimpeachable integrity. Joining the stampede was New York Times columnist Bill Keller, who noted that 'The I-Can't-Believe-I'm-a-Hawk Club includes op-ed regulars at this newspaper and the Washington Post, the editors of the New Yorker, the New Republic and Slate, columnists in Time and Newsweek."

And yet it was all rubbish, exactly as some of us raised on intelligence hoaxes suspected. Evidence of what I called "chicanery and fraud" in the U.S. case against Iraq was obvious to anybody unafraid to see it.

But here's the big thing about "mainstream" journalism and what Ambinder calls "information asymmetry." Upton Sinclair said it best: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."

Furthermore, the safest place during a stampede is the middle of the herd. Establishment journalists with mortgages, car payments and children in private schools saw what happened to the Dixie Chicks. Why couldn't it happen to them? (The job I got fired from that month wasn't paying my bills.) The United States had been attacked. Feelings ran high, especially in New York and Washington.

What did it matter if we killed the wrong Arabs, so long as Arabs were being killed? In Thomas Friedman's immortal words, "We hit Iraq because we could. That's the real truth."

Under oath to a Senate committee, Condi Rice told a barefaced whopper about the Aug. 6, 2001, CIA terrorism briefing that Bush blew off. Media insiders pretended not to notice. Bush made a slapstick skit of searching under his Oval Office desk for Iraqi WMDs. The press laughed on cue. He claimed that Saddam Hussein forced him to invade Iraq by expelling U.N. arms inspectors. (In reality, Bush made them leave.) Pundits praised his charm.

Long under siege for "liberal bias," media careerists now find themselves confronted with people they see as passionate amateurs. True, fearless scrappers like my friend Joe Conason have always been around, and somebody like Paul Krugman — a world-class economist who doesn't care what, say, MSNBC's Chris Matthews thinks of him — can be very annoying.

But what's really driving these jokers up the wall is economic and intellectual competition from the Internet: people with first-class minds and a passion for truth that some of them can barely remember. Ω

[Gene Lyons graduated from Rutgers in 1965, and earned a Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia in 1969. He taught at the University of Massachusetts, University of Arkansas and University of Texas before becoming a full-time writer in 1976. He has written hundreds of articles, essays and reviews for such magazines as Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Review of Books, Washington Monthly, Texas Monthly, The Nation, Esquire, Slate, and Salon. Lyons was the co-author (with Joe Conason) of The Hunting of the President: The 10 Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton (2000).]

Copyright © Salon Media Group Inc.

Get the Google Reader at no cost from Google. Click on this link to go on a tour of the Google Reader. If you read a lot of blogs, load Reader with your regular sites, then check them all on one page. The Reader's share function lets you publicize your favorite posts.

Copyright © 2009 Sapper's (Fair & Balanced) Rants & Raves

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

She Had Me At Moo And Then She Played "The Torturers In The Dock" Card

This blogger has a fantasy: the "Inglorious Basterds" who dispatched Nazis in Quentin Tarantino's alternative history of WWII, would be reconstituted to hunt the torturers among us. From the POTUS (43) all of the way down to the lowliest CIA contractor in Iraq or Afghanistan, these betrayers of what this country stands for would be bludgeoned with Louisville Sluggers and scalped or marked for life with a scar in the middle of their foreheads. For the Nazis in Tarantino's version of WWII, those who were allowed to live were marked with a large scar (inflicted with a Bowie knife) in the shape of a swastika just above the bridge of their nose. This blogger would settle for an upper-case "T" on the torturers' foreheads. To hell with courts and sentences and plea bargains. If this is (fair & balanced) wishful thinking, so be it.

[x HuffPost]
What's The Big Deal?
By Jane Smiley

Tag Cloud of the following article

created at

I understand that while I was uploading old photos onto Facebook, some joker was on "All Things Considered," going on about how we can't afford to take the time or the money to investigate tortures committed by the Bush administration. Have to move on, I suppose. This is like deciding that it isn't worth while to find out why little Dickie hung the neighbor's cat by its ears from the clothesline, or why little Donny shot out the neighbor's windows with his twenty-two, because it's more important to make dinner or to watch Lost. Pretty soon, Dickie and Donny are stealing cars and tormenting nerdy kids out behind the gym at school, and then they get to be real criminals.

Because make no mistake about it, if we as a nation sweep the Bush crimes, committed both here and abroad, under the rug because we're too lazy or afraid or "poor" to investigate, our criminals will be back with bigger plans, and the fact that they got away with it this time will set the same sort of precedent that was set in the Reagan administration, when Cheney and Rumsfeld found out that if they could just get back into power, no one was going to stop them from doing whatever they felt like.

This is how Republicans operate. They want power and they take it if they get a chance. They either don't understand laws or they don't respect them, so those of us who want to live in a lawful, decent world have to make sure that they feel the weight of the law. Those gun-toters at the town-meetings demonstrate what I mean. Their plan is not to discuss universal healthcare, it's to demonstrate power. They don't want to inspire respect in the unarmed crowds, they want to inspire fear. And they don't inspire respect — there are lots of comments on blogs about gun-toters, and a good portion of them comment on the size of the weapons a man packs relative to his natural endowment. But they do inspire fear — in their Congressional representatives and in the other people at the town hall meetings.

Respect and fear are two different things. The thing about Republicans is that they don't care so much about respect, but they love fear, at least in others. So the rest of us have to communicate with them in a language that they understand, and until these torturers, especially those at the top, stand in the dock and look the law in the face, and know that they broke it and are going to be punished, they will not learn what they can and cannot do.

But, you say, our effort will be wasted. They'll get in their lawyers and their lobbyists and their apologists and roll us over once again. Maybe so. But I say even that is worth it, because we have to confront, once and for all, the question of whether this is a law-abiding nation or just another out-of-control oligarchy. The founding fathers would expect no less of us. Ω

[Jane Smiley is the author of

1980 Barn Blind. Smiley's debut novel treats the Karlson family of rural Illinois and its demanding mother.

1987 The Age of Grief: A Novella and Stories. Nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award, the volume includes stories about family life and marriage. Critics admire the psychological penetration of the title story, in which an apparently happy and attractive couple are devastated by infidelity.

1988 The Greenlanders. Smiley has called this massive historical novel, chronicling the destruction of the Norse settlements in Greenland in the tenth century, "the true masterpiece" among her works.

1991 A Thousand Acres. Smiley's best-selling novel, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, has been called a feminist reworking of King Lear. Her deft handling of human character and her deep feeling for her rural setting elicit critical approval.

1995 Moo. Smiley's academic satire surveys a Midwestern agricultural "cow-college," filled with professional rivalries and pretenses.

1998 The All-True Adventures of Lidie Newton. The novelist invents a female abolitionist active in the Kansas Territory. Critics admire the character's eloquence, the period setting, and Smiley's ability to meld an adventure story with a keen moral sensibility.

Smiley received an A.B. at Vassar College, then earned an M.F.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. While working towards her doctorate, she also spent a year studying in Iceland as a Fulbright Scholar.]

Copyright © 2009, Inc.

Get the Google Reader at no cost from Google. Click on this link to go on a tour of the Google Reader. If you read a lot of blogs, load Reader with your regular sites, then check them all on one page. The Reader's share function lets you publicize your favorite posts.

Copyright © 2009 Sapper's (Fair & Balanced) Rants & Raves